Famous Norwegian from Loten

What a surprise to discover the birth of a famous Norwegian where our ancestors were from! Edvard Munch was born in Loten, Norway the 12th of December, 1863, while his father Christian was stationed there as a military doctor before the family moved on to Oslo in the autumn of 1864. One of Munch’s paintings is among a select group recognized by people all over the world: The Scream.

Munch was an expressionist painter whose works were emotionally charged with strong feelings such as those related to alienation and death. He painted The Scream in 1893 – actually, produced several versions of it. Can’t you almost feel the pain of the person in the painting?

When Munch was born in Loten in 1863, Borre Andersen and his wife Maria Andersdatter were still residents there. Our Borreson cousins great-grandfather Elias (and also his siblings) was baptized in the same parish in 1839, and his father Borre died and was buried in Loten in May of 1882. In Homestead, aunt Clara writes that the 1875 census has Borre and Maria still residing in Loten.

I actually located the baptismal record for Edvard Munch in the online image of Loten parish register number 8, page 69: he was baptized April 15, 1864.** Elias Borresen’s baptism was in register number 6 and Borre’s death and burial in number 9 – both in the same series as Munch’s records. (**This date was actually a registration: Munch was such a “puny scrap” at birth that the priest was called to baptize him immediately. Source: Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream, by Sue Prideaux.)

Perhaps you remember reading of the theft of The Scream from the Munch Museum in Oslo in August 2004. Two years later it was recovered along with a “Madonna” painting also stolen at the same time. If you want to review of Munch’s other paintings, just type “Edvard Munch paintings” in your search and you’ll get more than enough. His paintings give me the impression life was not a happy affair for him. He even said, “From [my father] I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow and death stood by my side since the day I was born” (Prideaux, 2).

As a little aside I also note that Munch’s parents, Christian and Laura, met in Elverum, the very locale of Elias and Kari Borresen’s marriage in October 1868. So, if you ever get to the Munch Museum in Oslo, you can whisper to the people around you that your ancestors had roots in the same places in Norway as did Munch.

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